There are a lot of other things I could write about, for example an update on how life is going, but that’s not where my heart is today.
Today is move-in day for the Class of 2017 at The College of William and Mary.
Six years ago, it was my move-in day. My parents and I drove to Williamsburg the night before so we could easily get to the dorm right as move-in started at 8:00am. That evening as we took a short walk on campus, I admired the beauty and loveliness that is old campus, giving me a fresh surge of confidence and helping to eliminate the I’m-leaving-the-only-home-I’ve-ever-had-for-the-first-time jitters. I remember my parents wanting to get there early on move-in morning and needlessly thinking, “It will be so embarrassing to be the first one there.”
As we drove on to campus the next morning, I saw people wearing shirts that said “ASK ME” and started tearing up and knew my Mom was too. The beauty of how well they welcome the Freshman and show they care is completely overwhelming. We did end up being one of the first ones there, and much to our surprise, a hoard of upperclassmen swarmed the truck and moved all of my possessions up to my new room like an army of ants. Little did I know, for the next three years, I would voluntarily take my turn being part of that proud “Sweating For You” army.
I moved into Gooch Hall, Room 320 in the Botetort Complex and upon first inspection of a cinder block wall room significantly smaller than the one that I had occupied alone for the past 18 years, I was skeptical. But somehow, someway we found ways for all of the things to fit, as we always do. A few hours later, I met Kate, my roommate that had been randomly selected for me by the college. Those first few hours were full of the curiosity and hope that comes with the “Will she like me? Will she be organized? Will we be friends?” internal monologue.
Two nights later, when we stayed up until 2am talking about our faiths, I knew we were off to a great start. Who could have guessed that we’d still be doing the same thing 5 years later – staying up late the night before my wedding talking about life and love and faith. (Once again, little did I know, my future husband was moving into the dorm right next to mine. Granted, we didn’t start dating until our sophomore year when we lived on opposite ends of campus.) That day was the beginning of many things and places and people to come that would make a deep imprint on my life and take up room in my heart.
But that was six years ago. This year a new group of people are moving in (one of them is Andy’s sister) and the last group that I helped move in are Seniors (!!). Perhaps even now (I started writing this at 9pm…), they are heading out of their dorms to “sneak” onto President Reveley’s lawn and sing the Alma Mater to him. It is one of my favorite W&M traditions – your first night on campus as a Freshman and your last night on campus as a Senior, you go to the President’s house and sing the Alma Mater to him. I hope their hearts begin to swell as mine does when I think about being part of the Tribe.
When I moved to Williamsburg, I wondered how any place other than King George, the place I had lived my whole life and held 90% of my family could ever be home for me. Much to my surprise, only a few months later, I would get the sense of peace that only comes with going home as the sign for the Williamsburg exit came into view on I-64.
Class of 2017,
I hope you find the same sense of home, love, community, growth, and challenge
that I did on that very special campus in Williamsburg.
Welcome to the Tribe, we love you already.
“Hark! the students’ voices swelling // Strong and true and clear. // Alma Mater’s love they’re telling, // Ringing far and near.”